Prepare for cold winter with common sense

Jessica Rothschuh

Energy Conservation Temperature Control

In the winter:

  • Thermostats should be set no higher than 72 degrees during the day and evening when people are home.
  • People generate heat. If you have a group of people in your apartment, let the heat they give off help keep your apartment warm.

In the summer:

  • During the day, to keep heat out of your apartment keep window shades or blinds down and closed.

Kitchen stove:

  • Use pots and pans that fit the burners. Pans that fit a burner absorb more of the energy.
  • Don’t preheat the oven if the food requires more than one hour of cooking time.


  • Clean the coils located on the back of the refrigerator once a year.

Washer and Dryer:

  • To save money, use hot water only for very dirty clothes.


As winter chill looms in the months ahead, students can save money on their energy bills by weatherizing their apartments and homes and making them more energy efficient before cold weather hits.

“Energy costs are not going to be a pretty thing this winter,” said David Hansford, owner of Greer Heating and Air Conditioning and Kent Board of Building Appeals member.

Hansford said he estimates this year’s energy bills will be about 40 percent higher than last winter’s.

For students who want to cut costs, common sense can go a long way, Hansford said.

“Common sense means registers not blocked or restricted by furniture, and a clean (furnace) filter monthly because a furnace only circulates air, it doesn’t manufacture air,” he said.

Dirty filters force furnaces to work harder, using more energy.

In addition to using common sense, students can save by making low-cost improvements to their homes and apartments to increase energy efficiency.

“The first thing is to close off all the cracks you can find,” said Wayne Demmer, manager of Kent Hardware and Building Center on South Water Street. To fill cracks, use caulking or weather-stripping kits.

“They are fairly inexpensive and will give you a good return on investment,” Demmer said.

Other items to conserve energy are storm windows that are installed outside or inside regular windows to create a dead air space between the two windows that has an insulating effect, Demmer said.

Students can also install light bulbs that use less energy, Demmer said. “We have some bulbs that screw in like regular bulbs, but they are flourescent-style. They are less expensive to run, and you don’t have to change them as often.”

Students should also learn how to set their thermostats to conserve energy. A set temperature is the temperature at which a heater kicks on automatically.

For those with natural gas heating, the rule of thumb is to lower the set temperature no more than 8 degrees in the evenings, Hansford said. For electric heat users, the temperature shouldn’t be lowered more than 3 or 4 degrees in evenings because electric furnaces take a greater deal of energy to warm back up.

Similarly, the set temperature of a water heater can be turned down so it doesn’t heat water to as high of a temperature, Demmer said.

For other ways to lower energy bills, students can visit the Ohio Edison Company’s Web site at and download the Energy Decision Maker Booklet, said Delores Jones, Ohio Edison’s community initiatives director.

“If students are interested in conserving energy this winter and always, they’ll find a lot of tips and tricks on there,” Jones said.

Hansford has one more common-sense tip for students looking to conserve energy this winter. He is often reminded of it when he visits houses to service broken furnaces.

“I go to some houses, and people don’t have any clothes on, and it’s 10 degrees outside,” Hansford said.

Contact public affairs reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].